Category Archives: When I became a fan

When I Became A Fan:

The biggest question a sports fan gets asked is why are you a fan of your favorite team. Or at least this should be. Sports fans usually have favorite teams in all the major professional sports and college, and for some there is European Soccer. But who is your favorite team? The team that if they were in the Playoffs your life stops? The team who every time this is the slightest alteration in a hat or jersey, you are at your favorite sporting goods store to buy it. That is what we are asking and telling you, our favorite teams and the answers may surprise you.

This is the 3rd post of the series to read George Brew’s click here, to read Ricky Keeler’s click here

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Being the elder statesman of the Whats Brewin team, membership does have its privileges. Honestly, that is really not the case. What it does do is give me the luxury of going back a little further in time. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, in the tri-state area, there was either the New York Islanders or the New York Rangers. The Islanders were in the midst of their glory days (winning four straight Stanley Cups). The Rangers were a team full of tradition, part of the “Original Six”.

Suddenly in October of 1982, this hockey team came from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. They were once the Kansas City Scouts and then the Colorado Rockies. Now there was a team called the New Jersey Devils that would play their games at Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, NJ. For people in New Jersey, it was a dream come true. We finally had a team that was not from New York at last. The Giants, Jets, Nets, and even Cosmos were New York imports but this team was New Jersey’s own.

My first game was an early season game against the hated New York Rangers. It was not hard to develop a rivalry with this team. They did not respect the team and New Jersey fans hated their arena being filled with a vast majority of Ranger fans. It was probably five Ranger fans for every Devil fan back then.

Then came October 8th, 1982. It was the first Devils-Rangers tilt in the Byrne as we called it back then. The arena was colder than most barns. It was almost in the middle of nowhere it seemed. The arena in and around East Rutherford built up dramatically in the last 29 years. Back then, there was a ton more marsh and swamp than there is now. Tickets were dirt cheap. My father got $18 face value tickets 15 rows from center ice for $9. Concession prices were dirt cheap compared to what they are now. Parking was $2 and that was it. Times were simpler then and a new team created its own “honeymoon period”.

Realistically my father and I knew the team was not very good but we had tickets and were going anyway to see what it was all about. I was playing hockey at the time and many of my friends were Islander or Ranger fans. The game was nowhere near a sellout with probably what felt like 1000 Devil fans compared to 10,000 Ranger fans.

The atmosphere was cool at first but gradually it would pick up. There were several different fights including one with Ken Daneyko that caught our eye.  Daneyko took a lot of tough shots but ultimately held his own then took down his Ranger combatant.

It was the moment I looked over to my father and told him, “Yes I am a Devils fan!” That is when I really became a fan.

New Jersey would score a third period goal to win the game 3-2 and the feeling of your team winning was fleeting that first few years especially. However, for that one night it felt like heaven. New Jersey would only win 17 games that first year. It would be several years before they even made the playoffs.

But all it took was one night in East Rutherford to start my hockey fandom. That fandom has only grown over the last three decades. Since that night there were three Stanley Cup victories and so many memories.  However, there is nothing like your first and to my Dad simply the biggest thank you I could ever give.

When I Became a Fan

The biggest question a sports fan gets asked is why are you a fan of your favorite team. Or at least this should be. Sports fans usually have favorite teams in all the major professional sports and college, and for some there is European Soccer. But who is your favorite team? The team that if they were in the Playoffs your life stops? The team who every time this is the slightest alteration in a hat or jersey, you are at your favorite sporting goods store to buy it. That is what we are asking and telling you, our favorite teams and the answers may surprise you.

This is the 2nd post of the series to read George Brew’s click here.

In New York, I always get asked the same question whenever I walk around in a Tom Brady jersey or a Bill Belichick hoodie. How in the world are you a Patriots’ fan living in New York City? It is so tough to fathom that someone can root for a New England team, especially in the last few years when the Patriots-Jets rivalry has reached a boiling point in the New York City area? Thanks Rex Ryan!

It all started when I was two years old, which is about 1994. My father was a Jets’ fan and my mother was a Giants’ fan, so it was tough to really root for a football team in general. Most Sundays, I would go to my uncle’s house to watch football since he had the NFL Sunday Ticket package. The first game that I was watching was a New England Patriots’ game with Drew Bledsoe as the quarterback. Today, my parents tell me that after the occasional mom and dad first words, the next one was Bled-Soe.

Although the team did make the Super Bowl in 1997, there is only one game that stands out to me when I reflect back on the Bledsoe years. I go back to a game up in Foxboro Stadium on November 29th, 1998 against the Buffalo Bills (Sorry, Brian Sanborn). The Patriots and Bills played a close game the whole way! With Buffalo leading 21-17 in the 4th quarter, Bledsoe takes the Pats down the field and sets up one last play, a hail mary into the end zone. But, wait, Buffalo gets called for pass interference to set up an untimed play from the one yard line. The next play, Bledsoe hits tight end Ben Coates for a 1-yard TD to win the game 25-21!

Then came the Tom Brady years! When Drew Bledsoe went down in 2001, it was a matter of shock for me as a Pats’ fan. I was only eight years old and I did not know what to do next since Drew was the only QB I knew. I would wear my Bledsoe jersey every Sunday wherever I went because I used to think that would bring the team good luck. So, the minute Brady was picked as the quarterback, I had to get my hands on a Brady jersey. Later that year, my grandparents gave me one as a Christmas gift.

When people ask me what I remember most as a Patriot fan, it has to be the first time they win the championship. I tell other fan bases that no matter how many championships your team wins, you will always remember the first one that you saw. That January, my little brother had just been born and he is a Brady fan to this day. He came home the night of the Oakland Raider game and I had to handle my frustrations without waking him up, particularly during the supposed fumble to end the game. I went from being in sadness to being in jubilation during a two minute span.

Then, you skip ahead to the Super Bowl. All around my school, I was saying the Patriots would pull the upset over the Rams, but I did not recognize the historical significance until today. When Adam Vinatieri made the game winning field goal, I ran around my house screaming for five minutes and then went on to brag all over school the next day.

During Super Bowl 38, I was in Washington D.C for a Junior Young Leaders’ conference in Maryland. That Sunday was casual night, so the people were allowed to wear whatever they want. So, I brought out my Brady jersey and wore it for every meeting which took place during the 1st half of the game. Luckily, I did not miss much scoring. I missed the halftime show during the social as well. After the night meetings, I got back to my room just in time for the last four minutes of the game. When Vinatieri hit that field goal, I did more screaming in a happy fashion. My roommates told me to shut up, but I was like “No way guys, the PATRIOTS JUST WON THE SUPER BOWL AGAIN!!!!”

Now, we move the timeline back to the historic season of 2007. When I used to write for the CBS Sports message board, I wrote a thread after their Week 3 win against the Bills saying that New England would finish the regular season undefeated. I just had a good feeling about the team and how dynamic and explosive they were offensively. I got ripped for it, but I got the last laugh.

For Christmas, I got tickets to go the 16-0 game at Giants Stadium. I had gone to past Patriots-Jets games at Giants Stadium, but this one sticks out in my mind in terms of an at-the-game experience. The seats were upper deck, but in the end zone where Tom Brady and Randy Moss set the passing touchdown and receiving touchdown records in the single season. To share that moment with Patriot fans and chant “UN-DE-FEAT-ED” with the Patriot faithful is a moment to remember forever, even though that Super Bowl loss just had to happen two months later.

I would consider myself the most displaced Patriot fan in the tri-state area at least. I have never made a trip out to Foxboro/Gillette Stadium to see my team play a home game, but the chance to see them play in New York is something I have taken advantage of over the past decade. When I have kids, I will get to tell them I saw the great Tom Brady at quarterback and one of the greatest head coaches of all-time in Bill Belichick. I live in New York and people always accuse me of being a bandwagon fan because they started winning. That false statement makes me mad more than most statements because if you know me or read this, you would know that is inaccurate.

The thrill of being a Patriot fan just gets even better when you get the chance to write about the team you love. I have been on FoxboroBlog.com since September of last year and to get a chance to write previews for every game is an experience in itself! I can say that no matter what, I am proud to be a Patriot fan!

When I became a fan

The biggest question a sports fan gets asked is why are you a fan of your favorite team. Or at least this should be. Sports fans usually have favorite teams in all the major professional sports and college, and for some there is European Soccer. But who is your favorite team? The team that if they were in the Playoffs your life stops? The team who every time this is the slightest alteration in a hat or jersey, you are at your favorite sporting goods store to buy it. That is what we are asking and telling you, our favorite teams and the answers may surprise you.

George Brew

I became a fan of the New England Patriots early in the 1994 NFL Season.  I was raised a New York Giants fan and to this day my Dad is a Giants season ticket holder and I was a huge fan of Phil Simms ( I still love Phil Simms).  After the 1993 New York Giants season, the Giants parted ways with Phil Simms and as every 11 year old kid does, I didn’t understand the business of the NFL, all I knew was that the Giants had released my favorite player.  At this point, I told my father that I no longer wanted to be a Giants fan, and his words to me were ok, but remember you can’t take it back and please don’t root for the Jets, Eagles or Cowboys and if the Giants play in the Super Bowl or you go to a game with me root for the Giants unless they are playing whatever team you choose.  OK so who do you root for is my thought.  I had heard a lot about Drew Bledsoe, he wore #11, the team wore red, white, and blue, ( which meant I didn’t have to go out and buy a new quarter back hand warmer for when I played touch or tackle football with my friends.  You know the things you think about when you are a kid.  So at this point I decided that I would root for the New England Patriots and it might have been my finest decision as a fan.  The 1994 season saw the Patriots make the playoffs behind Drew Bledsoe and Ben Coates, but ultimately fall to the Cleveland Browns.  The 95 season saw me purchase my first Patriots jersey a Wilson Drew Bledsoe jersey, which I still own to this day.  For Christmas that year, I received a Ben Coates jersey, one of the starter ones, that looked like it could have been an authentic jersey but had screened on numbers and letters, which I wore to the point of the jersey’s numbers fading off.  1996, was the first time that I saw the Patriots play in person a December game against the New York Giants, with the win coming on a late touchdown aided by former Giant David Megget,  I got a home Curtis Martin jersey and an away Drew Bledsoe jersey, as well as a trip to the Super Bowl to take on the Green Bay Packers, the first time in my life a team I rooted for lost the NFL’s biggest prize.  97-2000 were lean years for the Patriots a playoff trip and loss to the Steelers in 97, and then the Parcells purge came and we lost Curtis Martin to the Jets.

The 2000 season, brought promise.  Belichick.  A teacher in grammar school once told me that to really be a fan of a team, you have to go to a home game.  So in 2004, me and my best friend made the pilgrimage on a cold and rainy afternoon in October to see the Patriots take on the New York Jets, the Patriots won that day.  At that point I knew that I was officially a member of  Patriots Nation.  A year later I met Mr. Robert Kraft outside of Giants Stadium before the team took on the New York Jets and he even allowed me the opportunity to try on his Super Bowl ring, which is one of the greatest feelings of my life.  I have made the pilgrimage back to Gillette, a couple more times for games in the past couple of years as well as trips to the Hall at Patriot Place, which have helped me learn more about the team that I love and the region that the team plays in.  The last 12 years have been football nirvana for me.  3 Super Bowl victories, 5 Super Bowl trips, 11 trips to the playoffs, a 16-0 regular season( I was at win number 16)  the coming of age of Tom Brady, I can honestly say, that the New England Patriots have given me more joy as a sports fan that any team that I root for and I want to thank Mr Robert Kraft and Mrs. Myra Hiatt Kraft for purchasing a team in southeastern Massachusetts and guiding them to being the best sports organization in sports, but keeping the team a family.  You can’t pick your family, but can your friends, but in this case the Patriots are a family and at Thanksgiving, I won’t fight it, if I’m asked to sit at the kids table.